Monday, April 16, 2007

Fine Leg....

Some people argue that BCCI should break away from the ICC and fix major tournaments to ensure an Indian victory. Whereas you can treat that as a comment made in a lighter vein, it is hard to separate BCCI's rise to dominance of world over the past decade from India's own economic growth.

For one, the growth has been staggering. The beneficiaries in both cases have been few. In cricket, there is a huge gulf between earnings of players at the international level and domestic levels. And most of this growth hasn't really translated into changes in infrastructure.

Back when we were kids, the papers used to scream for structural changes in Indian cricket, based on the Australian model. Today, nothing has changed. Except that the BCCI can claim to be world's richest sporting body, surpassing footballing heavyweights like Juventus, Real Madrid and Manchester United.

Unlike in the case of these football clubs, India's dominance of the economics of cricket isn't because we are/were the best for any considerable period of time. As Chappell himself puts it, our cricketers haven't won any major tournament on foreign soil in over two decades. The rise to riches in Indian cricket is not because we were superior to any of the other cricket-playing nations. It is merely a reflection of our population, and an acknowledgement of its spending power.

As India rises to prominence among nations, especially in areas where the country can assert its burgeoning middle-class, it pays to wonder whether this sheer strength in numbers alone is enough to help us remain there. When will we realise that mere brute force bends? Our policymakers would do well to learn from our experiences on the cricket field

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